This month I had a chance to talk with Melissa “Mel” Jones, the chapter's Vice President of Membership. She is like a bright ball of happy energy that devotes time to helping grow our membership numbers and find ways of taking care of our current members.
Partnership with Human Resources
But Mel doesn't actually work in human resources. Instead she is an employee benefits Producer and Client Advocate at Lockton Companies. She has a passion for helping her clients reduce expenses by taking a total rewards approach to recruit, retain and engage employees. This happens through innovative and cost-effective programs including employee benefits, compensation, retirement, paid time off, etc. She also uses an analytical strategy to help clients manage financial risk. She does this by helping them reduce exposure to potential losses and variable claims that have costly effects on their insurance programs.
Mel is no stranger to managing a career amid economic churns. In 2009, she was pursuing her younger dream of commercial architectural drafting and design. When the economy took a nosedive, she lost her job due to a mass industry layoff and most new construction projects were delayed indefinitely.
Two weeks later she made a career change and started working for a fortune 500 company. In this new role, Mel provided supplemental insurance programs to employers and successfully lead of team of independent insurance professionals to peak performance levels. She also worked alongside many top employee benefits brokers in the St. Louis area to subsidize the cost for on-site enrollment and other HR technology platform costs. Her real “ah ha” moment and inspiration came from realizing how much people benefited from the trusted help she could offer organizations, their employees and human resources teams.
Mel eventually moved on to create her own company to continue the work of helping companies find ways to provide unique benefits solutions for their employees. She later joined Willis Towers Watson as a Director in Health & Benefits and quickly realized her entrepreneurship mindset was something she missed greatly.
After a few short years at Willis and, while 5 months pregnant with her second son, Lockton recruited her. Their privately held status, strong culture and entrepreneurial spirit re-sparked her excitement for her work. Mel's biggest passion is using her expertise to provide companies with strategic solutions that meet their needs.
Working side-by-side with HR staff every day, Mel says, “it's eye-opening to see what HR does and what they're faced with on a regular basis. They carry a lot of responsibility for an organization and sometimes they are the driving force to what makes employees show up each day. They wear invisible capes and they're an incredibly important part to an organization.”
Mel was introduced to our chapter by, Jessica Weathers, another member of the membership committee in 2017 and knew right away she had found a place for her. She participated in her first meeting and saw many warm, welcoming faces she had already been working with for a while. During the October leadership conference, Mel was impressed by the enlightened side of HR while listening to Bob Chapman talk on leadership and the need for companies to take care of their employees. That presentation spoke straight to the heart of her passion.
Mel joined the membership committee at the same time she became a member and had worked her way into her current role as VP of Membership. In this role, she hopes to build on her team's momentum and grow chapter membership to over 700 strong. She's also encouraging other members to take advantage of what chapter membership can offer. The information at each meeting and during the monthly webinars provides a wealth of helpful information. And for those with certifications to keep, the qualify as continuing education credits. If there is something an HR professional needs help with, experts who can help are everywhere.
Mel's Mentoring Moment
I took a few minutes to learn what insight and wisdom Mel would share with all of us.
- Be Authentic and genuine. This is a long-term investment in yourself with value that goes beyond your workplace. You'll gain more when you let people know who you really are.
- Get involved with chapter activities. By connecting with other chapter members you'll gain lasting friendships and professional networks. There's more to gain than the value of the membership fee. And if you're struggling to connect? Reach out to Mel or another member of her committee. They're eager to help you find an active place in the chapter.
- Her top book recommendation is Change Your Questions, Change Your Life by Marilee Adams. Mel has found it to be helpful in both personal and professional life for productively shifting her mindset to understand vs judge when dealing with stressful situations or people.
Our chapter is blessed to have Mel at the helm of our Membership Committee. When you get a chance to see her next, stop and say “hi” because she'll enjoy meeting you. And let her know if you want help finding your place to get involved with in chapter activities.